UPDATE: Arrest made after Chattanooga firefighter struck by car
By WRCB Staff
Chattanooga Fire Dept. Lt. Larry O’Rear
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
UPDATE: Chattanooga police say that Andrea L. Payne was indicted by the Hamilton County Grand Jury on February 11, 2015.
Payne has been arrested by Traffic Investigators and charged with DUI, Vehicular Assault, Leaving the Scene of a Crash, Failure to Render Aid, and Failure to Maintain Lane.Support efforts for Chattanooga Fire Department Lieutenant Larry O'Rear grow as the Chattanooga Fire Fighters Association, Local 820 has set up an account at First Tennessee Bank to accept donations.
PREVIOUS STORY: Those donations will assist O'Rear after he was was seriously injured when struck by a car while working on the scene of a wreck on Sunday, February 1, 2015.
Lt. O'Rear is still in the hospital and his recovery is expected to take several months if all goes well.
Anyone wishing to donate can stop by any First Tennessee branch office and make a donation to the Firefighter Relief Fund.
PREVIOUS STORY: You often think of firefighters putting their lives on the line, fighting fires. But one Chattanooga firefighter is in the hospital recovering after being hit by a car.
Lieutenant Larry O'Rear was on the scene of an accident when a passing vehicle struck him. It happened around 9:15 Sunday night near the 7900 block of East Brainerd Road.
O'Rear was just a half a mile away from Station 21, helping out on an accident between two vehicles on busy East Brainerd Road when a passing car knocked him to the ground.
"He's one that when we heard that last night and you hear the name, your heart goes to your feet," says Deputy Fire Chief Chris Adams.
Adams says at least 100 firefighters rushed to the emergency room to check on O'Rear.
"He has some substantial injuries, though, that's going to take some time to heal," says Adams.
A 19-year veteran of the department, Adams is confident O'Rear was following all safety measures.
"He's a very conscientious individual," says Adams. "He loves this fire department. He loves doing what he does."
The department holds yearly training on responding to car accidents. Firefighters and first responders wear reflective safety gear, too.
"A lot of people think firefighters just fight fire. But we're who you call when no one else knows who to call for help."
Adams says the accident is a reminder to pay attention.
"We pull up on the scene and people are in a hurry to get where they're going. Sometimes we can't open the door to get out to go work the wreck where people are needing our help because traffic won't slow down," says Adams.
In the meantime, business owner Steve Gilbert, who calls East Brainerd Road a 'raceway,' says he is praying for Lieutenant O'Rear.
"They put their life on the line every time they go out. And you don't hear about many of them that get run over like that. But they're out there directing traffic. They've done so out here in front of my building. That's part of their job and they're going to do it to the best of their ability," says Gilbert.
At last check, Lt. O'Rear is on the path to recovery. His condition was upgraded to fair Monday morning.
Police are still interviewing the driver that hit O'Rear and expect to file charges soon.
PREVIOUS STORY: A Chattanooga firefighter was sent to the hospital after being involved in a hit and run car accident Sunday.
Police and EMS responded to 7934 East Brainerd road about 9:15 Sunday evening.
Chattanooga Fire Department Public Information Officer Bruce Garner says Lt. Larry O'Rear was injured while working on the scene of an accident.
Investigators say he was not inside a vehicle when the accident happened. Police have a suspect in custody.
O'Rear was sent Erlanger. His injuries are described as serious, but non-life threatening. He is listed in stable condition.
Stay with Channel 3 for the very latest on this developing story.